how can an industrial brownfield site support the health of a community?


At the heart of many American cities, shuttered industrial sites riddle the urban fabric, leaving behind contaminated soils and unemployment. The Kroc Corps Community Center serves as a beacon for how to transform these challenging urban areas with high-quality facilities that are carefully designed to promote the health of the whole person, their community, and the environment. Both programming and facilities were developed with a holistic approach to not just provide services, but to enrich lives; to not only reuse vacant land but to heal it and make it productive. It shows that even neighborhoods with limited resources deserve the best design can offer.

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Using a comprehensive, sustainable landscape approach, our design dramatically transformed an abandoned, brownfield site into a dynamic community center set within an expansive, green oasis. The richly programmed landscape creates a hierarchy of activities arrayed around a central green. The landscape captures, filters, and reuses rainwater, restores native habitat, and supports urban agriculture. During construction, our zero-waste approach resulted in nearly all of the site’s existing pavements being recycled and reused on-site. Our work has demonstrated measurable ecosystem benefits that can be used as an example for the design and benchmarking of other urban brownfield redevelopments.


  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Size: 13 acres
  • Role: Landscape Architect of Record
  • Services: Sustainable Site Design, Stormwater Management, Brownfield Redevelopment, Construction Documentation and Observation, Community Engagement, Research


  • Inga Saffron, “A minimum of glitter, but it’s a real gem,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 25, 2011: E1.
  • Mary Myers, “Multivalent Landscape: The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center Case Study” in Landscape Journal, 2013, 32:2.
  • Joanne Greco, “Body AND Soul Centers” in Planning, March 2012: 26-30.


  • 2013 ASLA PA/DE HONOR AWARD in General Design and People’s Choice Award from the Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, with MGA Partners
  • 2012 Pennsylvania AIA DESIGN EXCELLENCE AWARD from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the AIA, with MGA Partners